By David Grimes Tuesday, September 25 2012 00:00
People use different methods to deal with life's everyday problems or just to get away from the daily hustle and bustle of life. For Christiansburg High School senior Zach Chase, running cross country allows him a way to dig deep and meet the challenges of everyday life.
"I use it [cross country] as an outlet for the rest of my life, the challenge it gives everyone makes them realize what they truly do have in them and how deep they are willing to go," said Chase. "Plus, you are able to control your own race."
Digging deep and proving what he has in him is exactly what Chase has done.
“Zach has worked very hard over the past summer and early part of the season to put him in the position to compete with some of the top runners in the state of Virginia. I could not be more pleased and proud of the work he has put in, along with the leadership role he has started to take with our team,” said Christiansburg cross country coach Shane Guynn. “It has been an inspiring journey to see where Zach started in his career and where he could possibly end up. He has all the tools to finish this season as one of the best runners to come through Christiansburg High School, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Brian Eigel, Justin Mosby, Robbie Turner, Justin Hatch, John Horst, and Andy Eddleton.”
So far this season Chase has finished second in the Titan Invitational (16:58.47), third in the Blue Demon Invitational (16:36.37) and fourth in the Knights Crossing (16:10.37). His season best time thus far is 16:10.
“Zach has gone from finishing 12th last year in cross country to being one of the Top 5 ranked runners in Group AA this year,” added Guynn.
Chase, who has been running cross country since his freshman year, started to look into the sport after competing in the Cruisin’ Christiansburg 5K.
"Coach Guynn encouraged me to join the program my freshman year and I had friends on the team that also thought I would be good at it," noted Chase, whose favorite food is a Sonic breakfast burrito with salsa.
Chase, who also does indoor and outdoor track, along with playing baseball, said “this year’s team has the depth and experience on the varsity squad. We train everyday together, and there is good team chemistry between all of us. We know that when we step to the line that we are doing it for each other.”
When asked what goes through your mind when running, Chase replied, “A lot….my brain likes to think about almost everything but running, ranging from what homework I have to do, to when I need to put gas in my car.”
In the 2011 season, he finished third in the River Ridge District championships, fifth in the Region IV championships and 12th in the state championship. He was also a part of the 4x800m relay team for outdoor track that set a new school record with a time of 8:04.59. He was also named to the Footlocker South Regional All-Junior Team.
As for his most memorable time, “When I received all-state honors at the state cross country meet last year, noted Chase. “I also loved receiving medals for the races that I have performed well in.”
When asked what his goals are for this season, Chase said, “I want to be able to improve my times from the previous years and I am looking forward to seeing what our team and I are capable of doing throughout the championship season.”
“Now that he has realized he can run with the best, it will be exciting to see where the rest of this season takes him. He has embraced the work ethic and expectations this program demands and is now reaping the benefits of his positive decision making and hard work,” said Guynn.
Not only has Chase become a leader on the team, he has taken that role into the classroom where he is a member of the National Honor Society, Future Business Leaders of America, the Environmental Club, table tennis and YOVASO, as well as being the Vice President of his graduating class.
When not running, Chase enjoys working on cars, longboarding, drawing, frisbee golf, swimming and just about anything that you can do outside.
As for his plans for the future, Chase plans to attend a four year college or university and continue his running career.
Photo by Jon Fleming
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